Just An Observation

I think someone forgot to send the weather the memo that it is now summer!
With the yearly Meadows Festival taking place tomorrow it has almost become tradition that rain and grey skies are obligatory. Although it is always a blessing when the Bongo Players are rained off- this won’t bother me so much personally this year as I am no longer a resident in the area- it is unfortunate that such an event is nearly always marred by the weather. Hopefully the weather forecasts are all proved wrong and it is a glorious day with beaming glorious sunshine and we are all complaining of heatstroke and sunburn but at the moment that seems unlikely. There are some good stalls however among them the Iconic stall which is making an appearance before its Grassmarket base closes down later in the year.
This may be a final chance to see Iconic’s wares in such an informal environment as it is moving into online sales due to problems many shops in the Grassmarket are having at the moment so it would seem it is not just our high streets which are suffering at the moment. It is a shame to see such a great shop go-it will remain open until year’s end- but it would seem Edinburgh Council are not too interested in helping out small creative businesses in their endeavours when it is more profitable to them to encourage stag and hen parties to drunkenly commandeer areas such the Grassmarket with little regard for residents or shop-owners. This is progress apparently.
Tuesday night, of all nights, sees a flurry of activity in the social strata with two major events on opposing sides of the Scottish coastlines. Edinburgh will be alive to the sound of the Fini Tribe, Young Fathers and a myriad cast of others including Andrew Weatherall at Central Hall as part of Neu Reekie’s summer extravaganza. Meanwhile over in Glasgow Patti Smith is performing her seminal debut and all time classic, as well as perennially personal favourite, album ‘Horses’ in its splendiferous entirety. Who would ever have thought boring old Tuesdays could throw up such delights and temptations? Now this really is progress.
The Neu Reekie night looks like being a major Edinburgh event which it would seem anyone who is anyone is attending. Nights of this standard don’t come around very often and it would be a shame to miss it which unfortunately I will as I shall be in Glasgow watching Patti Smith strut her very impressive stuff!
It is unfortunate a choice had to be made but for me it was no choice at all really as seeing her perform this record, which was among a handful which assisted in refashioning rock and roll from its bloated corpulent state in the mid seventies, is a must see. It always never ceases to amaze me the amount of passion, adrenaline and sheer electricity Smith manages to draw from within herself and transmit to her audience. I am expecting big things of this night and don’t expect to be disappointed!
Less than a month on from the General Election it would seem the Tories are only just beginning to show how awful the next five years will be under their rule. Plans to censor all media broadcasts containing all ‘extremist’ views are already afoot despite arguments that this contravenes the freedom of speech act.
Taking away any freedom of expression seems to be a major part of their manifesto and somehow the irony that this is in itself extremist is lost on them. Or perhaps it isn’t at all. Certainly the fact that George Osborne plans to sell off RBS to his city pals at a loss of £13 billion to the tax payers who paid to save it is beyond despicable. In many ways he and David Cameron are worse to me than Margaret Thatcher who although misguided, slightly insane and unhinged seemed to actually believe that she was actually right in what she was doing. These two however are fully aware that what they are doing is wrong and corrupt but don’t seem to care. It is almost as if they are laughing in our faces!
At least Scotland has the voice of 56 SNP MP’s to oppose them at every turn but whether even that is enough to make a whole lot of difference is unfortunately debateable.
Off now to find myself some suitable rainwear for the Meadows Festival although I am also looking out t-shirts and flip flops in case there is a total turnaround in the weather. Here’s hoping!

  1. Thank you Sadie, for the nice comments about our Shop – Iconic Design & Vintage. It has indeed been very hard, not just for us, but all the little shops down in the Grassmarket and surrounding areas – including the Royal Mail etc. The council are blinkered by creating a massive across the city cafe culture for the summer tourists that they just cant see anything else. The Grassmarket is like Scotia Disneyland – when a shop closes a new illegal cafe with no planning permission pops up. Many of these places offer all day breakfasts – for stag and hen parties at all the local budget hotels – or coffee and panninis – hardly high quality fare, and of course requiring little culinary skills. The people that do come into my shop ask me all the time – why are there so many cafes? In recent months over half a dozen “old favourites” have closed – even the mighty Avalanche failed to survive the “beer garden” styling in the area. Residents are moving away and houses become holiday lets… the winter – let me tell you about the winter down here… tumbleweed blows down the streets – not only that but the council charge small business owners TWICE to transform this area into a cultural wasteland.. first you have business rates and then you have a BID levy (bid stands for Business Improvement Area – hardly!).The Greater Grassmarket BID is a private limited company backed on the sly by the council – it is unelected and completely unaccountable … and currently have frittered away over £200,000 on projects such as printed cloth bags! They help themselves and chums – not the businesses here – and are a blight to the high street across the UK – they are a secret little club – and unless you run a business in one of these areas – ever expanding – you might not be aware of the damage they do. I had a celebrity shopper in this week in the form of John Barrowman – he couldnt believe our shop – and within ten minutes had so many bags full of purchases to go back to Palm Springs he could hardly get out the door with them. He was also thrilled to hear we are online and can ship more to him. But the council are squeezing us until the pips squeak – so here we are closing down and going out in gale force winds tomorrow instead of in our cosy wee shop… shame really – thanks for drawing the plight of little independent shops to everyone’s attention, Sadie – it is not just us… but we have given it a good go… but how many times can you sit in your shop and look at gangs of drunks outside dressed as Superman, Little Bo Peep, the Golfers with inflatable sex toys… jumping over the benches, peeing into the road and indeed even peeing on my shop wall… oh! enough is enough! OK – peeps… hope springs eternal – sunshine tomorrow for the Meadows – see you all there!

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